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The county newspaper, the Kitsap Sun, reported in June 2011 that a local signmaker had acquired the drive-in’s animated neon sign and planned to refurbish it. See the story and photo at http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/big-job-for-new-owner-of-big-bear-drive-in-sign
Street view should show east side of Lafayette Square (Madison Place, N.W.) just north of the White House, not this distant part of Northwest (Madison Street).
This is a closer view of the actual site:
The theater had been closed more than 20 years when the Kennedy Administration went ahead with an overhaul of the buildings around Lafayette Square, tearing down the theater and erecting the much larger U.S. Court of Claims hulking behind the old buildings on the square.
The MacArthur’s special role within the K-B chain when I was a kid in the late ’50s and early ’60s was to show British imports. My parents and I drove more than 10 miles round trip from Virginia to see low and high comedies that most often featured at least one of these players: Robert Morley, Alec Guinness, Margaret Rutherford, Alastair Sim and Peter Sellers.
Somehow, Sellers’ many male and female roles in “The Mouse That Roared” made it officially My Favorite Movie of all time — until I saw it as an adult, many years later. I guess I must have admired the early and deft satire of nuclear proliferation.
Even as a kid I knew the “Carry On” comedies were kinda cheesy, but they were British, so they existed on a higher plane than Abbott & Costello.
I don’t know if Agatha Christie enjoyed Ms. Rutherford’s interpretation of her amateur detective Miss Marple, but I came to believe that no one else had the spirit or the jowls for the role.
Guests of the MacArthur were directed to the second-floor lobby where tea and cookies were served until showtime, when the chimes of Big Ben struck and I’d brush the cookie crumbs off my clothes and we’d descend to the auditorium.
I don’t think my parents would have taken such a long drive to see French imports. Years later when friends could drive I was finally able to get to the Circle Theater downtown where I’d see the work of the great French directors Truffaut, Godard and Woody Allen.
Possibly because the theater was adjacent to the large Buckingham garden apartment complex, it seemed to be the venue chosen for releases … and re-releases … of Disney’s animated features. When I was a kid, I enjoyed a lot of talking animals there.
Here’s a better view of the Colony’s building:
The Colony was at Georgia Avenue and Farragut Street, N.W., a block south of the spot indicated by the Google Street View. (It’s the light-brick building in the distance, in fact.) The blog linked above has a drawing of the building whose caption gives the cross street (also posted on Flickr below).
Possibly the 4935 Georgia address is a little off.
My mother grew up a few blocks away on Allison Street in the 1920s and regularly walked to this or other theaters around the Petworth area.